In this poem, the poet has concentrated on themes such as social injustice and class inequalities.
In the first stanza, the poet describes the students in an elementary classroom of a school located in a slum. The students are all malnourished and poverty-stricken. Their hair hang around their pale, wan faces like rootless weeds, unkempt and dirty. There is a tall girl with her head weighed down due to weakness and misery. A very thin, undernourished boy watches with bulging, rat-like eyes. There is also a small boy, who has inherited a disease of twisted bones from his father. However, at the back of the class is a sweet, unnoticed boy, dreaming innocently of a squirrel’s game in a tree room, which shows that he is hopeful of a bright future.
The walls of the classroom are sour cream in colour and peppered by donations such as a poster of William Shakespeare, domed buildings in civilised cities, flowery Tyrolese valley, the world map, etc. But for these children in the slum, the pictures on the walls have no meaning. This is because their world is different from what is shown in the posters. Their futures are painted with fog, i.e., unclear and dull. Their world is just a narrow street with a lead sky (signifies sadness and misery). Their world is far from the rivers and capes in the posters.
According to the poet, all the pictures and donations are a bad example to these students. The pictures of ships, sun and love tempt them to choose the wrong path and steal. For children in such a bad condition in the slums, their time and space are foggy, miserable slums. Therefore, the maps on their walls should be blotted with huge slums and false promises should not be made.
The windows, which show these students the scene of the slum outside, close upon their lives like catacombs. So, unless a governor, inspector or visitor feels pity on these students and encourages them, these children will be doomed. Instead of making false promises, these people need to give better educational opportunities to these children so that they may have a better future.